In the Carey student magazine Nexus in 1976, an article was submitted by Year 12 student Marc Andre Renold, titled, ‘The Kurds, Story of a Persecution’. Renold writes of the ‘annihilation both morally and physically of the Kurds’ and the historical persecution of the Kurdish people over hundreds of years.
Renold writes of the false promise in 1974 when the Iraqi government signed a peace treaty with the head of Kurdish Democratic Party. The Kurds’ hope was for an autonomous region, but instead they were offered a law of assimilation, leading to further tragic warfare, with thousands dead or forced to flee as refugees to Iraq, Turkey and Iran where they faced discrimination and hostility. They are the world’s largest stateless nation.
Throughout recorded history, the area once known as Kurdistan has seen invaders from the Ancient Persians and Muslim Arabs in the 7th century, to the Turks, the Mongols and more recently the United States in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Rewind to Carey in 1976 and Renold concludes that, ‘if the world was conscious of such an oppressed minority, it would not permit it to be so, but there is the problem; the world is not informed.’
In the 43 years since Marc Renold wrote this article in Nexus, the Kurds have been vilified, marginalised, exploited, raped, murdered, abandoned and betrayed.
The Kurdish population in northern Syria again faces displacement, harm and death. Large numbers of those living along the Syrian-Turkish border are moved out of their homes by Turkish, Russian and Syrian forces, and hundreds of thousands of Kurdish civilians are facing a humanitarian crisis of dramatic proportions. The expulsion has been triggered by the abrupt withdrawal of United States military forces, after President Trump’s announcement on 7 October. Kurds are being forced to leave regions of northern Syria they have called home for years. Within two weeks of the Presidential announcement, 200,000 Kurds have been displaced.
In 2013, refugee and Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was detained in the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island until its closure in 2017. He has remained detained on the island ever since. He has written a book, No Friend but the Mountains, tapped out on a mobile phone, smuggled out of the detention centre and translated from Farsi. The title refers to a Kurdish proverb which expresses their feelings of betrayal, abandonment and loneliness due to their history as a semi-stateless ethnic minority in the Middle East without allies.
In 2019, we can no longer claim ignorance.
For references in this article, please contact the Carey Archives office.